Thursday, 11 March 2010

Draft thoughts: Detroit's second pick, Seattle and Anthony Davis

By Rob Staton
I wanted to discuss a couple of talking points that have appeared in the last few days. As you can see in my latest mock draft, I don't buy all the talk of Detroit passing on Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy to draft an offensive tackle. The argument for the Lions doing that is justified - I appreciate that. Detroit has aggressively added some pieces to their defense during free agency at quite a cost. They also made a considerable investment in Matt Stafford being the future of the franchise - so drafting a highly rated, young left tackle to watch his blind side would make some sense.

However, I just don't think it's going to happen.

The Detroit Lions ranked dead last in total defense in 2009. They gave up 494 points in 16 regular season games (to put into context, the leaky Seattle Seahawks only conceded 390 points). They averaged a loss of 392 yards per game and a staggering six yards per snap. Only five teams conceded less rushing touchdowns and St. Louis, Kansas City and Jacksonville were the only teams to record less sacks. Quite frankly, the Lions were a mess on defense.

Comparatively, the Lions ranked 21st in the NFL as a passing offense. It's by no means great, but certainly a step above some of the 'league worst' stats we're looking at on defense. Admittedly, they gave up the ninth most sacks (43) and sixth most quarterback hits (95). Those stats can be deceiving though, considering such high power offenses like Green Bay, Arizona, Houston and even Minnesota are just below the Lions in the QB hit department. More telling is the time of possession stats, which put Detroit 22nd in the NFL - above Chicago, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and - not surprisingly - the league worst Seattle Seahawks. It at least indicates that the offenses' inability to stay on the field wasn't necessarily the determining factor in why Detroit was so poor on defense.

It was an abomination. It's one of the reasons why, having taken an early 17-0 lead against the Seahawks last November, they were eventually overwhelmed even by Seattle's stuttering offense 32-20.

However, simply drafting a guy like Ndamukong Suh isn't going to solve your problems. It'd be a wasted investment - a big fat pay cheque to ask a guy to revolutionise a defense on his own is asking for trouble. I do believe that a lot of Detroit's moves in free agency have been designed to create a better environment for a young, stud defensive lineman to enter. Rather than view Corey Williams and Kyle Vanden Bosch as solutions, I think they're part of the justification for drafting someone like Suh. An experienced pass rush off the edge and an interior partner to boot for an extremely talented, potentially elite young tackle. It makes a lot of sense.

Is it a lot of investment in the defensive line? Sure. But lest we forget, Jim Schwartz knows what it takes to build a successful defense. When he was in Tennessee, Albert Haynesworth was his stud interior presence - but he had the supporting cast.

I also believe that this Lions franchise has it's finger on the pulse. This is a very different setup to the previous Matt Millen era. They made a statement last year when they drafted a tight end - Brandon Pettigrew - when positions of greater need were still on the board. The reason? Pettigrew was top of their board. I cannot envisage a situation where, if available, Suh and McCoy aren't 1a and 1b on Detroit's board. There simply isn't an offensive tackle that touches anywhere near the potential quality of the two stud defensive lineman. I've made my feelings known on Russell Okung frequently, but I would recommend people check out Kyle Rota's scouting report on the Oklahoma State lineman. He seems to be the hot tip to potentially land second overall with Detroit. I would be absolutely stunned if the Lions passed on the two brilliant defensive lineman to take Russell Okung. People can criticise Jeff Backus and his starting role, but the Lions - in my opinion - are more likely to run him for another year and draft Suh.

Of course, a lot of these mocks that have Okung going second overall end up sending Gerald McCoy to the Seahawks. It's a nice thought and one I'd love to believe. McCoy has elite potential in the NFL and everybody is aware of that by now. I wouldn't get your hopes up though. Here's something to ponder too - if the Seahawks were willing to draft Jimmy Clausen 6th overall when McCoy wasn't on the board, do things necessarily change if he is? I'm not so sure. Do you really go against drafting your quarterback for the future because a defensive tackle has dropped to #6? If the Seahawks are set on Clausen at #6, he could end up being the pick regardless.

The final thing I want to put out there today is the whole hoopla regarding Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers). Apparently he didn't work out at the Rutgers pro-day yesterday despite scouts thinking he would. Eventually he showed up, but wouldn't be weighed or do any work outs due to a sore hamstring and a 'stomach virus'. All this off the back of what some have described as an average combine.

Let me remind you of a similar situation last year. A very talented but raw offensive lineman ended the year in controversy when he spoke to an agent before the Sugar Bowl. He was forced to miss the game and end his college career prematurely. It raised concerns about his decision making and maturity. This same player arrived at the combine to hold a press conference basically saying he won't work out and he's going home. Again - even more questions about the guys attitude. He eventually held a pro-day and decided to run a forty yard dash shirtless, exposing a huge flabby gut that made scouts wonder about his work ethic and ability to stay in shape. By this point people were projecting him to fall into round two in their mock drafts and his stock was at an all time low.

That prospect was Andre Smith. He was drafted 6th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Before people get carried away throwing Anthony Davis down their mock drafts and thinking this guy will plummet - let me put this point to you: Davis has a lot of the same issues Smith had to deal with. However, Davis is far superior in pass protection, he has a higher ceiling as a potential starting left tackle and he's still very young (20 years old on draft day). Like Smith, somebody is going to look at this guy and see a blank canvas, with the potential to paint a masterpiece. Is it a risk? Sure. But the rewards are huge. I still think there's a very good chance Davis will be the first tackle off the board on April 22nd.

63 comments:

Matthew said...

I think that perhaps even more likely than Detroit choosing to either severely overspend on their DL or reach for and overpay an OT like Okung is that they're looking to trade down. Teams like Seattle, Cleveland, and Buffalo might be itching to move up to get their QB ahead of Washington, and ahead of anyone else who might want to trade up. If the Lions trade with Seattle even, it's a plausible scenario where they could still end up with McCoy at #6, and they would end up paying him $3-4M less per year. Alternatively, guys like Davis, Bulaga, and maybe even Okung would be there waiting for them then, too. The improvements they've made to their DL probably do mean they won't have to take Suh or McCoy while they can still get comparable value out of the pick by trading down.

Rob Staton said...

I both agree and disagree with you Matthew. I think you're right in saying that Detroit will look to move down - and could conceivably move down to #6 and still get a guy like McCoy. I'm not sure Seattle would want to do that (it could cost them #14 or #40) but they will explore any options they have.

I disagree though that the moves they have made on the DL don't require that addition of a guy like Suh. I think the moves they've made as things stand today look like papering over the cracks. As I've listed in the article - statistically and on tape the Lions defense was the worst in the NFL. You put Suh in the middle and surround him with better players - you're starting to build a defense.

Bruce M. said...

Rob, the first OT chosen is likely to be a top 6 pick. You don't choose an OT with as many head case questions as Davis that high. If anything Smith last year supports that theory.

Okung, though not without limitations, is a far safer pick, in that the chances he flames out, which a team simply cannot let happen when it picks that high, are FAR lower. In fact, I'd argue that at 2-3 other tackles are safer picks in the 1-6 range.

Matthew said...

Rob,

It's an open question what it'd cost to move up to #2. The widely-circulated value table doesn't seem to take into account the reluctance of teams to pay huge salaries to rookies. I doubt the Seahawks would be too keen to have to give up a decent draft pick for the privilege of paying Clausen an extra $4M/yr if they think they can get him at #6. Last year, the Jets traded only a 2nd rounder and some replacement level players to move from #17 all the way up to #5. It's widely regarded that the Jets got a steal, but no other team made a substantially better offer, either. I don't think it's a given that the Seahawks would have to give up #40 to trade up to #2.

Nor am I saying the Lions' DL is currently perfect, or even adequate. However, they have so many holes all over the place (OL, secondary too), and they've just spent a bunch of money, that they may be best served by picking up multiple lower picks that can fill more holes for less money, even if Suh or McCoy would make a huge impact on their defense.

Rob Staton said...

Bruce - but surely it's injuries that have kept Smith out? That can happen to anybody, I don't think Smith getting injured is a reason not to draft Davis.

For me, I don't think teams will be scared to rank Davis above Okung and then take him in the top 5-6. Pass protection is key with these guys, and I'm not sure that Davis isn't higher than Okung in that aspect already - but has a much greater ceiling than Okung in the future.

Anonymous said...

Comparing why Anthony Davis is your top left tackle to Andre Smith? Nice comparison. But you do realize that Smith was over drafted, right? The reason- left tackles are very valuable. Most of the time you can move them to right tackle or left guard if they don't completely pan out.

Over and above the weight, preparation and immaturity, Smith probably ends up as a right tackle this year - not on the all important blind side. What a waste of a top ten pick.

You say the Lions will absolutely draft Suh, if he's available. I disagree. At this point I think they'll target Cam Thomas in the second round and take their choice of left tackles at #2 - and Davis won't be in that discussion.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your analysis of Davis, however I have to disagree with the opinion of Jimmy Clausen being a Franchise QB. To me the young possess everything a QB needs, smarts, accuracy the ability to read defenses. All that being said, he is not a winner. He arrived at Notre Dame post two BCS games and couldn't do anything with talent. The arguments saying "there is less talent at ND when he was there" are utterly assinine. The bottom line is Jimmy Clausen can make the throws and make good decisions, read defenses, but he does not make the other players around him better. Bradford is a fringe franchise QB, Clausen is the next Rick Meier and I am curious why so many people feel we need to rush into selecting someone at the most important position on the field.

Kip Earlywine said...

I think I have to respectfully disagree on this one Rob. Not that anything you said was incorrect, but there are more factors to consider.

Corey Williams was once a very good 4-3 three technique tackle and is paid like it: Two years ago he signed a six-year deal worth $38 million, with $16.3 in guaranteed money. Its a backloaded contract of course, so just as when the Lions traded for JPs expensive years, they'll be paying a heavy price for Williams. This is why they were able to get Williams for roughly a 5th rounder (same as JP)- the huge contract is the hidden and bigger cost. Also remember that last year Detroit was giving Curry substantial consideration at #1 until they traded for JP, and the interest in Curry quickly disappeared after that.

Detroit's front office seems savvy to me; they've made quite a few smart moves. Would a savvy front office pay a 5th rounder and take on what is roughly a $7 million a year (my best guess factoring that it is backloaded) pass rush DT, to be a backup 3? And then draft a (very good) DT to take his job and then pay him $33 million guaranteed and $62 million overall (those figures from last years #2). That would mean having ~$90 million invested in the 3 tech DT position, which is arguably the least valuable spot on a 4-3 line.

Also, Detroits defense was indeed wretched last year, but that doesn't factor the addition of Williams this offseason and how he would help.

Finally, as articulated well at Walterfootball, the Lions #1 need is left Tackle. Their division is loaded with elite pass rushers and their current left tackle is a problem. We like to think that every QB can be like Aaron Rodgers but there are QBs who's careers were derailed by poor protection too, like David Carr. If this was a deep draft for tackle the point would be moot- but truly, if the Lions don't take a left tackle in the 1st, they are screwed. There are only 5 true starting capable tackles (maybe 6 if you count Campbell), and they are all likely to be gone well before the 2nd round. If they wait til #34, they'll be choosing between guys like Selvish Capers and Jason Fox (Detroit runs zone). Fox could be an option, but he's medically risky and would be a huge, desperate reach at #34.

By contrast, there is decent depth and they could get a cheap but still good DT in the 2nd round (possibly Brian Price, but at least someone like Lamar Houston or Geno Atkins).

Ultimately, I wouldn't rule out Detroit taking a tackle, but DT has gone from a "need" to a luxury pick. What I think actually happens is that Detroit made this trade to allow them to sell the pick. I expect them to trade down, and add a pick, then draft a left tackle. Failing all else, I really do think they'd take a Left Tackle over a DT at this point. Its just that big of a need with so few other options. And who knows, maybe they have Okung super high on their draft board? It wouldn't surprise me.

Right now, my gut feeling says 20% chance they go DT, 30% they trade, 49% they draft a tackle, 1% they blow our minds and do something else.

Kip Earlywine said...

Davis and Smith are alike in some ways. It would be pretty ironic if Seattle saves him from dropping by taking him 6th just as Cincy did last year for Smith. However, I really do think Davis will be there at #14, and failing that, Brown. No reason to take a tackle at #6, IMO.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous 1 - I don't think the Lions 'have' to take a left tackle. My latest mock has them building on the moves they've already made on defense by going DT and CB. They had the worst defense in the NFL in 2009. That won't be good enough for Jim Schwartz. I think they have more faith in Jeff Backus than most people want to believe.

Annonymous 2 - I didn't offer an opinion on whether I personally felt Clausen was a franchise QB. The point was - if the Seahawks think Clausen is a franchise QB, whether McCoy is on the board or not - they could take him. If you're willing to take Clausen at #6, I don't think that'd change just because Gerald McCoy falls past the top three picks. I'd also say - being a winner in college means very little. Colt McCoy won a ton of games. Tim Tebow won a ton of games. Given a choice of the three as to who is most likely to be a franchise QB, I'd say Clausen.

Kip - I don't agree that Detroit's #1 need is left tackle. Is Jeff Backus an elite tackle? No. Is he a servicable option? For me - yes. People who have convinced themselves that Backus is the big difference between success and failure think the Lions biggest need is tackle. I don't agree.

The Williams deal offers a big contract. But that's irrelevant for me. They've brought in a guy who could easilly start alongside Suh. As I said in the article, you don't turn around the worst defense in the league just by drafting Suh. You need to surround him with help. Williams is part of that help. Kyle Vanden Bosch is part of that help. Those moves on their own are merely papering over the cracks. Put their additions so far alongside Suh - and THAT is a team correcting a major problem.

If we're going to talk about expense in a no-cap year - let's talk about the deal Backus is on to force him inside or onto the bench. He's earning LT money.

And if Detroit's front office are that savvy, it's a no brainer. Suh outclasses Okung by some distance.

Michael H. said...

If I were Detroit, I would protect my QB investment first.

Shell shocked QB's are becoming more and more common. Detroit is in very real danger of creating another Joey Harrington here; albeit one with more talent.

Stafford came in with good health in his history, and had two major injuries this past year.

Offense wins championships. Get Lamar Houston in the 2nd if you want a 3-tech. Or Cam Thomas if you need a 1-tech.

Okung his huge, long, fast, strong, and provides the most complete pass protection skills int he draft. His run blocking would most likely improve.

Would you buy a Ferrari without a garage, and then when you have the money to get a garage, buy a pool instead?

Just sayin.

Rob Staton said...

Michael H - this is the point I don't get though. I don't think the Lions 'have' to get a left tackle. Why is Russell Okung any more of an upgrade on Jeff Backus but at a much greater cost? I've scouted Okung and saw him get beat, badly, twice against Ole Miss. On one of those occassions, QB Zac Robinson was pounded into the ground and got up clutching his back and ribs. Okung has struggled against the better pass rushers he's come up against (Orakpo).

Ndamukong Suh is light years ahead of Okung in terms of talent. I don't think defensive tackle is any less of a need and the Lions have investment (Williams, Backus) at both positions on their roster. As I've pointed out in the article, Minnesota with their other wordly offensive line nearly gave up as many QB hits as Detroit. Indianapolis, Philadelphia... they all had worse T.O.P. than Detroit. I don't think the Lions experienced any particular difficulties on offense and it's more of a case of young rookie QB learning the ropes. On defense however, they were worst in the NFL. Worst. I've listed the stats - 400 yards per game. You can't win games like that.

I will be absolutely staggered if the Lions pass on Suh.

CLanterman said...

Kip, I agree with your strategy. This is part of the reason I changed my strategy from #14 DT #40 LT to #14 LT #40 DT. I simply don't think any good LTs will be available in the 2nd round. Capers and Fox are fine, but they're 3rd round material that will probably pushed to the 2nd just because they're OTs and there don't seem to be any 2nd round caliber LT. For DT, you have Atkins, Alualu, Houston, and maybe even Price falling to the 2nd, all a tier or two higher with respect to their positions than Fox or Capers.
For DT, you generally can only play 2 per down, so having 3 good DTs doesn't help much unless you need your DTs to be rested and you like to rotate them. However drafting a LT can help in a number of ways. Okung can start as a RT and improve the line, or he can play LT and move Backus to LG or RT and improve the line (and perhaps the RT or an move to RG further improving the line).

Anonymous said...

I guess a question which needs to be asked is this, I understand the logic you are sharing here in saying if a team feels they need a Franchise QB than Clausen is the one to take. That being said, do the Seahawks really view Clausen in that way? My apologies for the riled up comment earlier, i am not attacking your opinions here just trying to determine why/how Clausen can be considered so high after being merely ok in college from a team prospective.

Rob Staton said...

The honest answer is I can't say whether the Seahawks have serious interest in Clausen. Two seperate sources, both of whom I trust, have told me that they do. They clearly view quarterback as an area for long term investment - and so they should. I think there's a chance Seattle will view Clausen as a legitimate franchise QB. My point really though, was that 'if' they do - and were considering taking him #6 overall at all - then does it change anything even if McCoy falls? However good he is, if Clausen either will or won't be seen as a franchise QB. If he isn't, they won't take him period. If they think he is a franchise QB, I think he probably ends up being the pick whoever falls - including Suh/McCoy.

ChavaC said...

If you look at clausen's junior stats, they are literally off the
charts compared to what we've seen in recent years. On top of that he has shown the ability to master running a pro style/ under center offense that translates well to the NFL. You may argue that he didn't have a lot of success on terms of wins, but he regularily led comebacks to bail out a horrible ND defense. Also, he didn't have anywhere near the line/running game that someone like Bradford had (there's a video on YouTube of ND vs Michigan that shows him leading a 4th qtr comeback despite running for his life).

As for Detroit I have a hard time seeing them passing on a tackle, but everything they have said so far has suggested they really like backus. Which is a scary thought if you stafford.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob, do you feel like Anthony Davis just played himself out of the first round with the whole pro day incident? If the reports are true, I don't know if I want him as a second round pick at all, talent is nothing if it goes wasted.

-Taylor

Cash said...

In my opinion, the teams that are the most successful in the draft are the ones that go after the BPA whenever their pick comes up. That's how Schneider is used to attacking drafts with Green Bay. I don't think he's coming into this draft saying "we're going to take the best LT at #14 and the best DT at #40." You end up reaching for guys and losing value.

The same goes for Detroit. It doesn't matter who they've picked up through free agency. They'd have to be stupid to reach for someone with the 2nd overall pick because of a perceived need. Especially considering how many actual needs this team has. Maybe they do have Okung rated higher then Suh so they're making additions to their Dline in preperation to draft a LT. Or maybe they're just solidifying a terrible unit.

ChavaC said...

The counter to that arguement is you ignore important areas. I'm usually for bpa but last year is a good example of how it can bite you. The lions had pettigrew above the left tackles at their second pick. At that point Oher was still
on the board at a huge need position. Instead they went with their bpa and let stafford limp through the type
of season that can ruin a rookie qb. There is absolutly no point to taking and starting a rookie qb if you're not going to protect him.

Anonymous said...

Kip - I agree with you except I think they look for a 1tech in the second round, and not a 3tech. Okung starts day one at one of the tackle spots and will be the left tackle of the future.

Rob, prepare to be "staggered".

Davis will go first round, but teams drafting in the bottom half now have someone to research.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Rob. The lions won't pass up a superb once in a decade talent like Suh. Upgrading a bad defense starts with the defensive line and with Suh and the other additions their defense should be improved this year.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Someone needs to buy Chava a beer.

Anonymous said...

Clausen is the new millenium Rick Mirer.

Anonymous said...

Rob-

On the Lions selecting Okung.

Quick stat from CBS Sports for you:

"Glenn Dorsey (No. 5 to Kansas City in 2008), Dewayne Robertson (No. 4, Jets, 2003) and Gerard Warren (No. 3, Cleveland, 2001) are the only defensive tackles to be selected in the top five over the past 10 drafts."

Not exactly an impressive bunch. So that is one argument against investing top 5 money into the defensive tackle position. Not to mention, it is telling that in just the last two drafts the consensus 'best player available' was at a position of lesser worth (DT in 08 and LB in 09) and both times they slipped passed the top 3. The positions drafted instead of them: OT, DE, QB, RB, QB, OT, DE. All are more premium of positions then the position they passed up except for RB over DT but that was Al Davis.

Plus, moving Jeff Backus to guard is something that has been discussed.

Lions Coach Jim Schwartz stated during this year's combine that
"He can play left tackle, he can play left guard. If that's something he ends up doing, I think he could do either one. But I have a lot of comfort level with him, we all do, from the standpoint of he's very, very consistent, he's very durable. You add all those things up, you'll find a place for that guy to play."

They have been discussing moving Backus to left guard for two years now. Plus, he is 32 years old and call me out if I am wrong but doesn't his contract end in 2011?

All I am saying is that it would not surprise me for Detroit to pick Okung but they have past precedent backing them up.

Brando

Kelly said...

Rick Mirer completed 51% of his passes, had 15 tds / 6 ints and only threw 19 passes per game in a non-pro style offense his senior season at ND. Vastly different than Jimmy Claussen.
Is Jake Locker the next Brock Huard because they both went/go to UW?

Anonymous said...

Rob-
I see your point on Okung being not in the same league w/ Suh and McCoy. However, I do believe that you are extremely biased. This site more than any other dislikes Okung. Every other scout or draft pundit I have seen think he is not only at the top of the tackle class but also a worthy top 5 pick. I am not saying you are all wrong but just like the point you made with Clausen: If the Lions think he can be a good starting LT doesn't that trump a really good starting DT? I think it does. You yourself aknowledge that while you aren't a huge fan of Clausen, you think the Seahawks have to take him if they believe he can be a franchize QB. Same applies with Okung and being the Lions' franchize LT.

Brando

Anonymous said...

Rob-
I see your point on Okung being not in the same league w/ Suh and McCoy. However, I do believe that you are extremely biased. This site more than any other dislikes Okung. Every other scout or draft pundit I have seen think he is not only at the top of the tackle class but also a worthy top 5 pick. I am not saying you are all wrong but just like the point you made with Clausen: If the Lions think he can be a good starting LT doesn't that trump a really good starting DT? I think it does. You yourself aknowledge that while you aren't a huge fan of Clausen, you think the Seahawks have to take him if they believe he can be a franchize QB. Same applies with Okung and being the Lions' franchize LT.

Brando

Paul said...

OT Anthony Davis is a little child, LMAO!
written by Farmer Paul, March 10, 2010
To all you Anthony Davis lovers and think he is the shit, just some MORE news to verify his immaturity and how this guy will probably NOT make it in the NFL. For the last few months I have been debating with some of you on the fact that Anthony Davis is still a child and needs to stay home with his mommy. Here is the story.

Anthony Davis has odd day
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on March 10, 2010 8:51 PM ET
A few offensive line coaches showed up to Rutgers' Pro Day Wednesday, hoping to watch tackle Anthony Davis work out.

According to Mike Mayock on NFL Network, Davis didn't show up because of a hamstring injury that wasn't fully communicated to teams. Feeling sick, Davis wasn't even at the school. (Hmm.)

Mayock reports that coaches then needed to call Davis to come in to meet them. When he arrived, he wouldn't weigh in. (Hmm.)

Davis is a first-round pick, but there have been some concerns raised previously about his weight fluctuations and maturity. Wednesday's adventures can't help his case.

LOL! If I was this reporter who wrote this column my words would have been much different. He is a freak'n lazy BUM! I still can't believe he is even getting recognition for a 1st round pick. He was a joe blow during the combine! What's so freak'n hilarious is there are still individuals on this blog that are so die hard for this guy and they are also the ones that think signing someone like Brandon Marshall would be foolish and detrimental to this team. I laugh at the ineptness of this idea, LMAO! This guy is going to end up dropping all the way to the 5th round, possibly undrafted. Grow up Mr. Davis, you have an opportunity that many would love to have!

Anonymous said...

Paul, you sure laugh a lot for someone who is obviously ranting. However, I do agree with you. I would not take Davis until 40 but he will obviously be gone by then.

Brando

Paul said...

To everyone reading my recent post, it was not meant towards any you on this blog. It was meant for a lot of those on Seahawk Addicts. I do agree with Rob on the fact that this kid has upside if, and that's a big IF, he is willing to put away the childish antics and do something with his life. I was laughing do to a previous post on the addicts blog. It was quite hilarious. Anyway, I feel this kid has tremendously hurt himself and will be headed on a down slide if he doesn't get it together.

ChavaC said...

Wait... so you are against drafting someone like Davis because he's immature, but you're all for Brandon Marshall? How does that make any sense at all?

micah said...

I think Detroit needs to take the best player possible out there. Taking an OT is a reach, especially since this year's class has not been regarded nearly as high as last year's OT crop. As far as the Hawks, we also need to pick the best player at #6. Most of the good teams out there have one thing we don't, quality depth. Injuries happen all the time, and it's great when someone can step in there and fill the voids.


As far as Clausen, someone said it yesterday, but Clausen and Brady Quinn's stats were pretty similar. Also, stats are stats, college stats don't tell you how good the qb will be in the nfl. Colt McCoy was super accurate in '08, Colt Brennan completed 70% of his passes in '06. It also helps when you have QB guru Charlie Weiss telling you which read will be open. So yesterday I checked out a site called http://www.armandoallen.org/comparing.php
I don't know if Armando Allen actually wrote up this, but it talks about some of the strengths and weaknesses of both Brady Quinn and Clausen. Unfortunately it was pre Clausen's Junior Season. I think it's still a good read, but based on how well Clausen did this year, they'd probably be more even, except Quinn is more mobile and in my opinion a better leader. Based on that, we see how much of a franchise QB Quinn has been. But then again, it's still one person's opinion.

Rob Staton said...

Taylor - as I mentioned in the article, I draw similarities between Andre Smith and Anthony Davis. I don't think Davis' off season has been as car crash as Smith's was last year - but the fact of the matter is both were very talented with work ethic/maturity issues. Smith maintained a place in the top ten. Davis - for me - is a better prospect because he's a left tackle with greater pass protection skills. He has huge upside. Risk - yes. But a big reward. I think he'll go a lot higher than some are projecting.

Rob Staton said...

Brando - I think when approaching individual prospects... sure, look at the past and see who has been a success and if there's a high bust rate. But it's also important to judge every prospect individually. Just looking at Glenn Dorsey for example, here's a guy blighted by injuries coming into the NFL. He struggles a bit in year one and then his team go for a 3-4 defense and change coaching staff. In a better environment, does he have greater success? I think Suh is an amazingly talented prospect and I think Detroit would be a good move for him. That's a team accumulating talent. They're making a nice supporting cast for him. It's a great match and one I think would lead to results. I appreciate and respect the argument that suggests Detroit will take a left tackle - but in this instance, I firmly believe that the quality of Suh, the drop off in talent amongst the LT's and Detroit's level of comfort with Backus (not to mention the major repair work on the NFL's worst defense) will ultimately make Suh the pick.

Rob Staton said...

Brando (part 2) - I wouldn't say that this blog is 'biased'. I've had Okung in the top ten of my mock drafts. I've had him in the late first round. Same goes for Jimmy Clausen. Everything is archived. A lot of people have Okung rated highly - good for them and I respect their opinions. I can only go off what I've seen personally - and my judgement is there's a lot of unjustified hype around Okung. I would take Anthony Davis, Bryan Bulaga and Charles Brown before Okung. That's just my opinion. I am fully prepared to be proven wrong when he enters the NFL or if he goes a lot earlier than my latest mock draft. I will hold my hands up if he becomes the guy a lot of people think could be. I'm incredibly dubious. But it doesn't mean Okung won't be back in the top ten in my mock drafts in the future - because I try to project what teams are thinking not necessarily what I think they should do.

Rob Staton said...

Paul - Anthony Davis hasn't impressed anyone with the way he's carried himself this off season. But my comparisons to Andre Smith are valid I think. Both with maturity issues, both with work ethic issues. Both immensely talented. The difference is though, Smith is only really projected as a RT or interior lineman. He still went top ten. Davis is absolutely a left tackle, blindside blocker. Whoever drafts Davis will have to work with him closesly. You better have some good coaches. Having said that, the potential rewards are much higher than what you'll find with the Okung's and Bulaga's out there. At the end of the day, it wouldn't surprise me if Davis dropped in round one. But it wouldn't surprise me if he was a top ten pick either.

Michael H said...

It will all come down to the value of Stafford; not the value of Suh or McCoy.

So ask yourself what is more important:

1) Protecting the most important position on your team; your one bastion of hope and slowly making your offense like NO and your defense like NO
2) getting better on 30 plays out of 65 on defense and losing your QB to a concussion in week 5

To me, it is an easy choice. Okung is just over the top as Suh and McCoy physically.

And I laugh at everyone ingoring two major knee surgeries that Suh has had, and McCoy's lack of production in 2009.

This is fun!

Rob Staton said...

Again though, Michael, I think the Lions trust Jeff Backus. I don't necessarily see Okung as a dominant blind side blocker who locks up the left tackle position and keeps Stafford clean. Look at the Bowl game he played in.

I also don't see a lack of production from McCoy. Every time I watched him in 2009, he stood out. He has 12 sacks in two years as a starter. When I scouted Suh, McCoy and Okung - there was a marked difference in quality. But then, that's just my opinion.

Michael H said...

I see both sides. It will be interesting to see the actual result.

Much thanks!

Kip Earlywine said...

Wow, lots of colorful comments. That made for some fun reading. Good points Brando in regard to BPA and the last two drafts as well as Backus.

Rob, FWIW, I looked up Backus on those ProFootballfocus stats, and he actually ranked well, coming in as the #12 offensive tackle in the NFL (+10 points). By comparison Lock was tied for 40th. Its strange then that so many draft sites have called tackle a huge need for the Lions for months now. Maybe he's really under-rated? Although he does turn 33 in September, so that could be part of it.

I do still think Suh is a luxury pick. Not that that's wrong, I think top 10 picks should go BPA barring extreme circumstances. But if they do draft a DT there, it really makes me question the addition of Williams. Paying $7 million a year plus a 5th rounder for a bench/rotational player is not a good move at all. Free agency moves and trades do tend to have repercussions in the draft too (like how signing Housh last year probably kept us from drafting Crabtree).

Guilherme said...

Another scenario: St. Louis takes Bradford and Washington drafts Clausen. At 40, would be a reach to draft Tebow? (I saw him going to Buffalo at 41, but I'm far from an expert, so I can't tell if this is a reach or not). Seattle is reportedly watching him. Another question: why Teel can't be Hasselbeck's heir? I read that he has some problems with his accuracy, is there any other problems with him? Thanks!

Jony-b said...

How can anyone say that a DT is more important than the health of #1 overall QB. I am not even saying that Okung is going to be the LT that the Lions choose. But they need to at least consider it, and probably go for it because whether you want to admit it or not.
Stafford is not protected well enough, as the QB for the Lions was sacked 43 times this season. Mind you that Stafford was in and out due to injury because of these sacks.
If they are set on going BPA it is obvious that it will be Suh. Last year they did not take BPA according to the league. They took a QB and a TE which were huge needs and very good pick ups but would not have been considered BPA by many experts.
I think the stats of 43 sacks in one year and a rookie in and out due to injury shows that even if they Like Backus they must upgrade the o-line.
This off-season they have already upgraded the d-line 2 times in FA.

Jony-b said...

I do not see the Lions spending some 15-20 million on the DT position per year. It would get close to 20 if the pick Suh at #2.
It seems like people think that Corey Williams has no worth. He is pretty much dominant in my opinion. 18 sacks in four years and that really all happened in three of those years because his first year at DE in a 3-4 was void with only .5 sacks. so 18 sacks in 3 years does not seem second rate to me. 11 passes defensed and 8 of those in the last two years.

I really don't care all that much what the Lions do though. Also looking at the stats I "almost" like Brian Price's stats over the last two years better than Mccoy anyhow.
I think it is like 13 sacks for Price vs 12 for Mccoy

Hawks should go LT and DT in the first round unless the correct QB is there, then it needs to be QB, LT. If a QB is not ther I suggest trading back with #6 because though mccoy is touted as being better Price is younger and we would be able to get another 2nd round pick.

Thin in the second round we pick a S and WR.

I am hoping that WR is Marshal with #40 before the draft and any combo of Hawthorne, Branch, or any others that we have that are worth anything in the trade with Denver.

Our draft could then look like this
Say we trade unfavorably back all the way to Houton at 20 from #6 and we pick up # 51 as well. According to the value chart we are loosing a lot of value 350 points. But I think this would still be worth it especially if we could pick up a player or players in this trade. Last year the jets traded up to #5 from 16 and gave there 2nd rounder and something like 3 players.

Our draft could be, #14 Charles Brown, 20 Brian Price or Jared Odrick, 40 (and change) Brandon Marshal, 51 one of these(Nate Allen, Chad Jones Morgan Burnett) at the Safety position.

This fills four huge needs with 4 exceptional players. We also could pick up a RB early round four who could likely beat out Jones to split time with Forsett!!

Nick said...

The Lions might determine that they can best protect Stafford by improving the interior of their line with their second pick. They might have their choice of guards/centers at that spot.

As for Davis, I think those who like him are the same people who like JPP. I'm not one of those people. He looks like he has no idea what he is supposed to do out there. To me, Bulaga is the best of the tackles and you take him without worrying about "upside."

Nick N.

JohnnyB said...

I love this blog, I really do, I hope it lives forever; but I have to say the mocks and predictions here suffer from the same weakness that all mocks and draft predictions do. Because no one can tell what the teams think of each player, they basically ignore that issue in favor of the team needs. Prognosticators go to great lengths to explain teams needs, yet the players picked almost always have much more to do with how good each team thinks they are going to be.

McCoy is a once in five year talent at Dline. He is probably going to make any team much better, even if they have a decent tackle already. Clausen is the sort of quarterback who can be found at the top half of the first round of almost every draft ever conducted.

You have to be extremely desperate for another position, like the Rams are for a quarterback, and you have to have that other position and player, like Bradford, rated very very high in order to pass on a guy like McCoy. We'll see if that even happens.

But to think that the Seahawks would pass on McCoy to take Clausen if the insane happened and McCoy fell to #6, is just a case of getting too wrapped up in a needs analysis and forgetting how NFL teams really draft. IMHO

Steve in Spain said...

A rookie LT is not a quick fix for pass protection problems. You can't expect to draft some kid and throw him into the lineup week 1, squaring him off against the best pass rushers in the world and expect him to suddenly outperform a league-average veteran like Backus. The jump from college to the pros is huge. Not only does one have to digest a massive playbook of blocking schemes, you have to gear up to the speed of the game, learn to defend a bevy of pass-rush moves you've never seen in college, learn to recognize and pick up complicated blitz packages. Backus may not be the greatest athlete, but he knows the playbook, he's up to the speed of the game, and he knows the pass rushers and their moves. He'll be better in 2010 than anybody they can draft and throw out there.

The Lions very well could end up going LT in round 1 but, if they do so, it will be with an eye to the future.

So what quick moves can you realistically make this off-season to radically improve your pass protection? Here's how I'd build my garage for my Ferrari.

First, draft McCoy or Suh. Sacks are generally a product of situation. The situation of being behind late in the game. If the Lions are down two scores in the 4th quarter, the pass rushers can pin their ears back and go after Stafford's head. That's why it's so important to get top quality talent at all levels. A McCoy or Suh can make an instant impact in improving the defense, thus keeping scores tighter late in the game, and thus keeping the pass rushers on their heels.

Second, I'd build a dominant run game. I'd target Iupati at the top of round 2 and Ben Tate in round 3. Stafford needs someone else to share the load and be productive on first and second downs so he isn't caught in 3rd-and-long blitzing situations. I think an Iupati/Tate tandem could make a quick improvement. RBs in particular need less time to transition to the NFL, especially if they are used primarily on 1st and 2nd downs.

Those changes will do more to "protect the investment" in Stafford than just drafting "Top Rated LT."

Anonymous said...

I agree with that Steve. It sounds just like the opposite of what Al Davis would do. And so can't be that bad.

Salem Seahawk said...

Let's flash ahead 5 years from now. If your the Seahawks what would you want out of our 2010 Draft? Improved O-Line, dominating Passrusher, Quarterback of the future, more stingy secondary, somewhat of a running game?
Fix the O-Line and improve the running game first. Pressure the opposing QB and improve the secondary second.
With this year's QB crop...it's not the time to look for that.

Rob Staton said...

Johnny B - when accumulating a mock I try to project what I think a team will do and not necessarily based on need.. Obviously the problem with all mocks is you never can truly understand what a front office or GM is thinking. The unexpected can happen. But I like to think I do more than go by standard needs. I've tried to mix things up. Dallas taking Demaryius Thomas? A lot of people would say unlikely, but I could see it. McClain to KC? Spiller to Pittsburgh? I don't think these moves are just blatantly based on team needs as you suggested.

Regarding Clausen - I think the point rings true. This isn't my opinion of Clausen or McCoy or a team picking over need. The point is - if the Seahawks (and it remains a big IF) felt Clausen was worthy of the 6th overall pick and could be a franchise QB, I'm not sure there's a prospect in the draft that would fall to make them think - actually - we're going to pass on that. I am a huge fan of Gerald McCoy. But if the team feels Clausen is a franchise QB, they 'could' take him regardless. It's not a ridiculous proposition in my opinion, and was thrown in there to create this kind of debate. But in the same way St. Louis are taking Bradford instead of that 'once in a decade' DT (Suh) I believe the same could, essentially, happen in Seattle. It's not me saying that'll happen based purely on need, I think it's a valid suggestion. Either the Seahawks want Clausen to be the face of the franchise or they don't. I don't think there's any middle ground here where by they say - we want Clausen, but only if this defensive tackle isn't there.

Rob Staton said...

Salem - if I was being truly honest, in five years I'd like to see the Seahawks with a stable position at QB more than anything else.

Salem Seahawk said...

Rob,
We've had a stable position at QB for many years this last decade but have only done something with it when our offensive line was stout, our RB was MVP, and we could get to the opposing QB.
Even then our passrush failed us. Our QB played great.

...OK the officials failed us too...

cysco said...

LB Andra Davis has been released by Denver. Potential move in preparation for a Marshal/Seattle trade?

cysco

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob, I disagree with you on this point - you stated that "Smith is only really projected as a RT or interior lineman."

That is a hindsight projection, not a pre-draft projection. Before the draft he was considered a top 5, if not the #1 overall talent. No way does that match RT or interior lineman value. He was seen as a very accomplished and polished prospect and without the combine/post-combine issues he would have be the first LT drafted. He was dominate as a run blocker and very good as a pass blocker with very quick feet and lots of upside. Davis is comparable, but he's not better than Davis.

Rob Staton said...

Salem - I know the last couple of years have been tough, but Hasselbeck has actually missed 11 games. The results of not having consistency and quality at the position have shown. Given the chance to tie up any area of the team for five years down the line - I take the QB position.

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - I said throughout last year that I only viewed Andre Davis as a right tackle. The archives are there on the right hand side bar. He never looked like a left tackle to me - really struggled against an outside speed rush. Very good though for the running game and with tight end help. That's why I thought RT or guard. That view never changed at any point last year.

CLanterman said...

A couple of things about Andre Smith from Cincinnati. First off, he went #6 overall last year, but could it be that only the Bengals had him rated that high? All it takes is just one team to overrate a player. Perhaps the other 31 teams wouldn't touch him with until pick 20.
Another thing, if indeed teams did like him as a top 10 pick, chould his injuries, weight issues, character concerns carry over to Anthony Davis's draft stock?

CLanterman said...

http://www.walterfootball.com/mattblog100311.php

Walter Football has an interesting comparison between Davis and Smith as well.

Rob Staton said...

I'm sure a lot of teams will move Anthony Davis down their boards. But teams who need a left tackle badly will seriously consider him. As you say, Clanterman, it only takes one team. I think both Washington and Seattle would seriously consider Davis - and that could be his landing spot.

Anonymous said...

Andre Smith/Anthony Davis Comparison-It is important to note that Cincy has a joke of a scouting department (4 scouts. Seahawks have 10…). Furthermore, Carson Palmer is a left-handed QB. Therefore, the right tackle has more value than a typical RT because he is the one protecting the QBs blindside. Of course, they still don’t face the most talented pass rusher on the other team but they still have an increase in value. Also, let’s remember that last year’s draft wasn’t nearly as good as this year’s. These three things mixed with the Bengals habit of ignoring personality flaws made for a perfect storm that allowed Andre Smith to still go in the top 10.

Do I think that Anthony Davis is a better player? Yes, but only on upside. In fact, if you look at their collegiate careers, Smith’s was hands-down better. His only flaws were those that happened right before the bowl game and then proceeding through the combine. Conversely, Anthony Davis’ whole senior season was fraught with turmoil and erratic play. He either dominated or was dominated. He came into camp overweight and was regulated to the second string. This followed up with a lazy combine and a nonexistent pro day makes me have more concerns with his character then I did with Andre Smith’s. Smith still have his stellar collegiate career to say, “hey, this is the real me. Not this other guy who got the bad advice.” Davis doesn’t. In fact, Davis’ only saving grace is that his upside is huge. Like Smith’s flapping gut huge (aka-All-Pro huge).

Would I take Anthony Davis? Absolutely not at 6. I will leave the Beast or Bust picking to Al and his minions. However, if he is there at 14 and my scouts (Rob S., Kip, Matt, Rob R., Kiper, McShay, etc.) give me a high grade, then yes, I would take him.

Even though I think that these two players have differing values and different back stories, I agree with Rob that they are a good match. Smith didn’t drop because of all the issues I laid out above but I can see Davis not dropping because of his incredible upside. I just hope that the Hawks aren’t the team that keeps him from falling to 14…

Brando

ChavaC said...

"LB Andra Davis has been released by Denver. Potential move in preparation for a Marshal/Seattle trade?"

Definitely not a good idea to splurge on a new Hill/Hawthorne jersey right now. Cutting Davis doesn't many any sense to me unless they were desperate to shuttle Marshall in exchange for our 4th LB.

Rob Staton said...

Brando - I do believe Carson Palmer is a right handed QB. However, you make some valid points.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You are right. I am gonna have to pull an Andy Petite and say that I must have 'misremembered' that. Here I have been thinking that Palmer wasn't a bad QB but rather a good QB with a disability to overcome. Looks like he is just a bad QB.

Brando

BTW-just playin' about south paws being disabled... kinda.

Kip Earlywine said...

Wow, I just read that link Clanterman. Matt McGuire was pretty harsh, but I honestly can't disagree:

"This blog was written in the direction of Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis. Davis has had a reputation for a very poor work ethic and immaturity in his collegiate career. He showed up to training camp last year very out of shape, was demoted, then performed very poorly early in the season.

At the Combine, he again showed up out of shape and looked sluggish in drills. How does a very athletic offensive tackle nearly fail to crack a 5.40 40-yard dash? I'm not big on the 40, but everyone needs minimal standards.

Furthermore, I've been told by a couple sources that in the interviews, Davis didn't own up to the question marks and things scouts found out about him.

Now, he doesn't show up to his Pro Day because he was "sick" and had a "hamstring." Oh, and he refused to weigh in.

All signs point toward Davis not working out at all and showing no desire to be in shape for his Pro Day.

I don't discriminate when I evaluate prospects. I gave the lazy, immature, overweight Alabama tackle Andre Smith a third-round grade and I will do the same for this Rutgers product.

Players who don't care about the game and have zero work ethic just don't pan out in the NFL - especially after they earn a million-dollar paycheck.

I personally see bust written all over Davis. He has too many red flags, and when you disrespect NFL teams and the NFL Draft process, odds are you will do the same once you're making millions."